Their Shoes and Their Stories

Their shoes tell me a story

As I sit on the subway, I look at those around me and imagine how their day started.

Then I look at their feet, and wonder what the shoes will tell me. I create little stories in my mind.

The woman with the sparkly pointed high heels sits reading a book, but every so often she puts the book down, looks out the window and twists a piece of her hair between thumb and forefinger. I imagine she’s apprehensive about the encounter she’s about to have with a lover she’s recently met. I think she has a wedding ring on her finger, but those shoes have never been worn for her spouse. She bought them on a whim and immediately felt guilty about paying so much money for a pair of shoes she’d never wear. But she’s wearing them today.

The sandal clad woman with the black exercise pants looks like a statue. In profile she stares out the window, hand clutching the overhead strap, knees locked like stakes driven into the floor. The sandals are new, and I wonder if they’re comfortable. I imagine that by the end of the day there will be little red welts on her feet where the straps, not yet softened by use and wear, cling tightly and unforgivingly to her feet.

I smile at the woman in the polka dot dress who’s wearing white ankle socks and sandals. I feel like she should get up and jive with someone on the train.

I can’t get a bead on the no-socks-loafers guy. The turned up blue jeans and white oversize shirt make me think he’s an artist. I imagine the jeans spattered with paint, and envision him running, shirt billowing in the breeze as he hurriedly leaves the train for an appointment at the gallery, knowing he’s late and wanting the commission so badly.

The sneaker clad kid with the black running shoes is going to school, but has forgotten her backpack on the bus. She wonders if there’s a lost and found, and how she’ll retrieve last night’s homework. Her teacher will never believe her story.

Feet. Shoes. People. Places.

Stories imagined.

Lives being lived.

Another day on the subway.

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  • First of all, is this a photo that you took on an actual subway? Because that’s the nicest subway I have ever seen with the nicest shoes standing in it! I’m going to say the guy with the jeans rolled up and loafers is a dad who has the day off work but then remembered he was supposed to go pick up the cake for the birthday party so he ran out of the house in a hurry. Because it kind of looks like something my dad would do (including the time he went to church in blue fuzzy slippers because he forgot to put his shoes on) 🙂

    • I like your version of the loafers dude too! And yes…we have very clean subways in Toronto 🙂